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Source: Weare officials told to reinstate officer

Last modified: 10/11/2014 1:38:28 AM
Less than two weeks after rescinding the termination of a former police sergeant, officials in Weare have been ordered to reinstate another officer who reportedly resigned last year after a deadly officer-involved shooting, according to a source with firsthand knowledge.

The source, who requested anonymity, said an arbitrator directed the town last Thursday to nullify the resignation of Officer Frank Jones, and to compensate him for the months he has missed.

Jones, who left the department in November and is now an instructor at New England College, according to the school’s website, declined to comment earlier this week, at the advisement of his attorney.

Tom Clow, chairman of the Weare Board of Selectmen, and Mark Broth, the town’s attorney, each declined to comment yesterday. Clow said he was on vacation. Broth cited personnel issues. Broth did say that as of yesterday, Jones was not employed by the town.

The arbitrator was appointed by the state Public Employee Labor Relations Board, according to the source. The board has no public docket on Jones from this year posted to its website. Two calls made yesterday to its office were not answered.

The account follows days of speculation about the decision. Multiple people have said in phone calls to the Monitor that Jones has been reinstated with full back pay.

Jones had reportedly resigned from the department after the Aug. 14 shooting, which resulted in the death of an unarmed man suspected of being a drug dealer.

According to a report from the state attorney general, Jones arrived at the scene that night and claimed that one of the shooters, Sgt. Ken Cox, may have told an informant to lie about certain elements of the incident. At the behest of state investigators, he tried to corner Cox in a recorded conversation, but Cox refused to discuss the incident, according to the report, which was released in April. Cox has denied the claims.

Investigators said in a footnote to the report that Jones had resigned.

The police department has struggled for months to rebuild its image following the deadly shooting, and the police chief, John Velleca, is facing claims of domestic violence. Velleca, who was hired last fall, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of that case.

Late last month, the town told former sergeant Joseph Kelley, who oversaw the drug bust that led to the shooting, that he could potentially return to the job. Kelley hasn’t been reinstated, but the town has scrubbed his firing from his personnel file and agreed to pay additional wages for which he would have been eligible since November, when he was placed on medical leave for issues related to the shooting.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)


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